What You Can Learn from a SWAT Team Member Who Had a Heart

The SWAT team

The SWAT team pulled up to the building on Wabash Avenue. Dressed in black from head to toe and armed with a “no-knock” warrant, they stormed through the door unannounced.

So begins chapter 1 of the Arbinger Institute’s The Outward Mindset.

As the team takes down two suspects, others cower. The scene is bedlam. Infants scream at the top of their lungs. Their mothers cry.

One SWAT team member heads for the kitchen. He rifles through the kitchen cabinets, searching for white powder.

When he finds and mixes the Similac, he pours the formula into baby bottles, and then distributes them to crying babies.

In the calm that this creates, his SWAT Squad leader explains to everyone in the room what happens next.

The magic

This SWAT team member has empathy (the ability to relate to others’ emotions and experiences and to give caring, understanding and compassion), is the magic that changes how the workplace feels to employees.

The reality

Does your workplace have empathy?

Quite possibly, no. Although over 60 percent of CEOs describe their businesses as empathetic, only 24 percent of their employees agree.

Here’s one true story.

“I want a manager who gives a darn. Between kids and work, I’m losing my mind. I worked all night to get a report in on time. My manager’s one comment? He chastise me for not paginating the five-page report.”

Does empathy matter?

According to Businesssolver’s State of Workplace Empathy Study, 83 percent of Gen Z employees and 75 percent of employees of other generations would choose an employer with a strong culture of empathy over an employer offering a higher salary.

83 percent would consider leaving their current organization for a similar role at a more empathetic organization.

What does it take?

Empathy requires listening, hearing and not judging. Think: “How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it.” G.K. Chesterton)

If you’re a manager

You can’t afford an empathy deficit. Take team-building exercises seriously—they work.

Make yourself available. Call each employee and ask how he/she is doing. Remote work removes the in-person interactions of a traditional workplace. Without regular coworker interactions, managers have become an employee’s first line of defense when struggling with work stress. Be aware when one of your employees reaches their breaking point.

If you’d like your employees and coworkers to rejoice this holiday season, remember that many walk a tightrope balancing personal and work responsibilities.

Gift them empathy.

p.s. Collie Zeke shows empathy 24/7 to all, and he and I wish you a very happy new year.

(c) 2022 Lynne Curry

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy Managing for Accountability, https://bit.ly/3T3vww8 where I outline exactly how leaders and managers can change workplace culture and these related free posts: https://workplacecoachblog.com/2020/12/what-employees-really-want-for-christmas/; https://workplacecoachblog.com/2020/12/flexibility-what-employees-want-need-for-christmas-2020-part-2/; https://workplacecoachblog.com/2020/12/a-christmas-new-years-surprise/.

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3 thoughts on “What You Can Learn from a SWAT Team Member Who Had a Heart

  1. The “No Knock” Law should be repealed. Many wrong addresses have had their doors broken into and innocent people have been killed and injured by SWAT Teams, including babies. With the prevalence of cell phones, those inside the residences should be contacted and given time to come out. With all the weapons, smoke, gas, flash bangs, etc. available to police, the chance of attacking a wrong address should not be taken.

    One innocent man was sitting on his couch with his daughter watching tv. He had the remote in his hand and was killed because the police thought it was a gun. In another incident, a retired minister was sleeping when the SWAT team broke into his residence. He was hard of hearing and when he didn’t respond correctly, the unarmed man was shot and killed in bed.

    Like police vehicle chases that kill many innocent people, No Knock Laws need to end.

  2. Well, said, you can’t afford an empathy deficit. And we should follow collie Zeke’s example. Great example that bring home the message and the importance of empathy.

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